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A Dog's Purpose looks like it will be one of the feel-good movies of early 2017 the whole family can enjoy, from its lovable canine characters to the inspiring story. However, an incident that happened allegedly during the movie's production has ignited a controversy. A video has surfaced online showing one of the movie's dogs being forced into a pool of churning water despite the animal clearly not wanting to go in. This moment is shocking to watch, and understandably, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is furious, calling for a boycott of A Dog's Purpose. Here's the the organization's official statement:
Days after PETA released a video exposé of Hollywood animal supplier Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU), which claimed to a PETA eyewitness they provided dogs used in the film A Dog's Purpose, new footage shows a terrified dog who is forced into churning water on set. At one point, a dog who is in danger of drowning has to be rescued. PETA is calling on dog lovers to boycott the film in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props. PETA's investigation at BAU revealed that animals are denied veterinary care, forced to sleep outdoors in the cold without bedding for warmth, made to live in filthy conditions, and more.
Earlier today, TMZ uploaded a video which showed a scene from A Dog's Purpose being shot involving the German Shepherd being put into a pool of rushing water, and the person either recording or someone nearby can be heard saying how the man with the dog was trying to get it used to the water not being cold. Be that as it may, the dog resisted going in, and eventually its handler just grabbed it and forced it into the pool. The video later cut to an even more horrifying scene where the dog appears to be panicking, resulting in people nearby rushing towards it to make sure it didn't drown.
Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures told TMZ they would "look into the circumstances surrounding this video," but for now, PETA has called for moviegoers to boycott the movie to show solidarity for dogs and other animals being treated properly. The American Humane Association representative who was on set during that time has also been suspended, according to a TMZ update.
You can check out the video for yourself if you want, but be warned, it's a rough watch.
Needless to say that the fact a situation like this occurred is unfortunate, especially in a time when animal rights are more important than ever. It's one thing to shoot a scene having one of these dogs walking alongside an actor or even jumping into the air, but to straight up drag a scared dog into a pool of rushing water is horrible. With all the advances in animatronics, CGI and other movie effects, one would think that A Dog's Purpose could have found a way, even with its smaller budget, to make that scene happen without putting that animal's life at risk.